Best Online Backup for NAS (Network Attached Storage) 2018

Looking for the best online backup for NAS? Smart move. There’s nothing wrong with creating a backup plan for your backup plan. There’s even a catchy name for it: the 3-2-1 principle.  

Network attached storage (NAS) devices are souped-up local storage machines, perfect for both driving collaboration in the office and creating your own cloud-based media system at home. They’re also used for hard-drive backup, providing faster recovery in case of catastrophe than even the best online backup services can.

Most NAS devices support redundant data storage (learn about RAID), too, meaning if one drive fails you don’t lose your files. However, that doesn’t mean you’re free of worry. Should the device be damaged due to flood or fire, or otherwise compromised, you could still lose it all.

The best failsafe is to backup your NAS to the cloud. Cloud facilities are better able to cope with problems that local storage solutions can’t thanks to environmental controls, fire suppression systems and onsite security, among other measures.

To help you sort through options to find the best online backup for NAS, we decided to put together a list of our favorites. If you need help on some of the technical aspects, we recommend our article on how to backup your NAS to the cloud. As an added bonus, it even features our top choice for NAS backup, CloudBerry Backup.

Best Online Backup for NAS (Network Attached Storage) 2018

What Makes the Online Backup the Best for NAS?

Ask any backup expert and they’ll probably tell you that backing up your NAS device to the cloud is critical. Unfortunately, some otherwise excellent online backup solutions, like Backblaze (read our Backblaze review), don’t support NAS backup. The top consideration in putting together this list was making sure our picks do.

For those that use their NAS device for file backup rather than as a personal cloud storage solution, we also took into account the ability of the online backup tool to support hybrid backup.  

By hybrid backup, we mean backing up data both locally and the cloud, which gives you the benefits of both: fast backup and recovery for local backup and resiliency for online backup.

Support for hybrid backup is key, but so is efficiency. Saving data to both a NAS device and the cloud takes more time than just going with one or the other, and more management overhead as well. That’s especially true if you’re running continuous, real-time backup rather than less protective scheduled backups.

One online backup feature crucial to efficient NAS backup is something called block-level file copying. With this method of file copying, if a file previously backed up is changed, only the parts of the file that changed get backed up rather than copying the entire file all over.

While most online backup tools now support block-level file copying, another feature, multithreaded backup, is less common. Multithreaded backup means that rather than run one backup stream, several streams are run at once. Block-level copying and multithreaded backup together mean faster upload times.

We also considered security. One of the advantages of a NAS device is that your data is under your control. By storing data in the cloud, you risk throwing that control away by picking the wrong provider.

Key to maintaining that control is private, end-to-end encryption, sometimes called zero-knowledge encryption. With this method of encryption, the online backup service doesn’t manage your encryption key, meaning it can’t read your files, whether for marketing, handing your data over to the NSA or for other purposes.

Now that you have an idea of where our thinking was in putting together this list, let’s get to the good stuff.

Best Online Backup for NAS: CloudBerry Backup

Of all the services in our online backup reviews library, none make a more dedicated effort to support NAS backup that CloudBerry Backup. Whether you’re using a Synology, QNAP or a NAS device from another manufacturer, CloudBerry makes getting data stored on that device to the cloud simple.

For backing up a NAS device used as personal cloud storage, you’ll need to have mapped your NAS as a network drive to the computer you’re running your backup operations from. Then, select that drive when you create your backup plan.

For a NAS device used to backup your computer, CloudBerry Backup now supports hybrid backup. When setting up your backup plan using the CloudBerry Backup client, just choose “hybrid backup.”

Doing so will first backup data to your NAS device, then send it from your NAS device to the cloud. That means you don’t have to configure two separate backup plans. It also spares computer resources.    

To further boost your backup efficiency, CloudBerry Backup has options to turn on block-level file copying and set multithreaded backup. Both features together result in superior upload speeds.

You can also opt for real-time backup with CloudBerry Backup, or stick to scheduled backups. CloudBerry Backup supports private encryption, too, letting you encrypt your files using the AES protocol before sending them to the cloud.

Finally, when setting up your NAS backup plan, you can design your own retention policy. This lets you specify how many file versions are kept and when deleted files are purged. With many other backup tools, you don’t get a say about those settings.

We have a separate guide on setting up hybrid backup that features CloudBerry Backup if you’d like to learn more about the steps involved. Our full CloudBerry Backup review details the basic backup process, too.

Other Reasons Why We Like CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup ranks as not only our top pick for network-attached storage backup, but also one of our favorite online backup tools overall. To be clear, however, CloudBerry doesn’t actually have its own cloud data centers. Instead, you’ll have to purchase cloud space separately.

However, that actually works in your favor, minus a bit more work initially due to having to shop for a service. With over 50 different cloud options, including Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Backblaze B2, you can pick the backup service that works best for you based on security, speed and cost.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to implement a backup plan with CloudBerry Backup, the software already supports IaaS newcomer Wasabi, whose low storage costs you can read about in our Wasabi review.

Acronis Backup 12.5

The latest rollout of Acronis Backup ranks as one of the best online backup tools for hybrid backup, whether using traditional file servers or NAS devices. That makes it a perfect pairing for any of the options mentioned in our affordable servers for small businesses article.

This service, however, is designed for businesses. If you’re looking for an at-home solution for NAS backup, consider the more affordable Acronis True Image, our number three pick for NAS backup.  

Unlike CloudBerry Backup, with Acronis Backup you don’t need to go hunting for IaaS solution to send your NAS files to because the company maintains its own data centers. However, while that means less setup time, you still have to pay separately for both software licensing fees and cloud server space.

While the software fees are reasonable, the cost of space in the Acronis Cloud is not, and that’s one of the big reasons Acronis Backup fell to second in this list. 1TB of backup space will cost your business around $900 a year. Find out more pricing details in our complete Acronis Backup review.  

If you’ve got the cash, though, Acronis Backup is great for NAS backup thanks to very fast upload speeds. Behind that speed is a global network of servers, which you won’t get with many other online backup services, including IDrive and CrashPlan.

Other key features that will please NAS users include block-level copying, file compression and encryption. File compression will help reduce the amount of space files take up in both your NAS device and the cloud, though it compromises speed. Encryption does, too, but you can customize the levels of both features if you want to speed things up.

The Acronis client supports backup to NAS, backup to the cloud and hybrid backup. For the record, it can even do cloud-to-cloud backup, including backup of personal cloud storage.

Other Reasons Why We Like Acronis Backup

Many other online backup tools have a web GUI, but few of those GUIs let you remotely manage your backup. Acronis Backup does, and its GUI is one of best designed we’ve seen.

Slide-out menus keep things clean so that Acronis Backup’s many features don’t overwhelm the user experience. You’ll also have access to an admin console for managing users and running backup reports, making it great for business that need to document backup process, like for HIPAA compliance.

Acronis True Image

Ranking third for best NAS backup is Acronis True Image. Designed for personal use rather than business, True Image doesn’t have the user management tools and cloud console you get with Acronis Backup. However, True Image is just as fast as Acronis Backup in our experience.

That speed comes from the same strong global server network, the Acronis Cloud, that Acronis Backup is built on, and makes True Image ideal for backing up large amounts of NAS data. Additionally, True Image supports both block-level copying and multithreaded backup to better support speeds.

To backup your NAS to the Acronis Cloud, you’ll need to pick the drive letter you’ve mapped your NAS as a source to when creating a backup plan.

Acronis True Image also lets you backup computer files to your NAS device by picking it as a file destination instead of the Acronis Cloud.

However, True Image doesn’t make hybrid backup easy. Unlike with CloudBerry Backup, you’ll have to create two separate backup plans to achieve this goal, one backing up files from your computer to your NAS, and another backing up your NAS to the Acronis Cloud.  

Other Reasons We Like Acronis True Image

True Image has the essential security features we’d expect, including private encryption and customizable versioning. But it also has a few less common features. Acronis Active Protect, for example, is a free add-on that actively scans your backups for indications of ransomware attacks.

The online backup service also has a blockchain feature called Acronis Notary, also free, that helps ensure backup fidelity. Read more about that feature and its advantages in our complete Acronis True Image review.

While Acronis True Image is more expensive than some value-based providers, like Carbonite, the $99 per year base price for 1TB of backup is worth the speed advantage and features you get. There’s also a 30-day free trial offered so that you can make that determination for yourself.


IDrive can be used to backup files to local storage, as well as backup your local storage to the cloud. Those two processes are segmented, as with True Image, meaning hybrid backup isn’t nearly as efficient as using CloudBerry Backup for this purpose.

On top of that, IDrive is also much slower than our top three picks. However, you can take advantage of a free courier service called IDrive Express to get your NAS data into the cloud more quickly.  Read our IDrive review for more about how the IDrive Express program works.

To backup files to and from your NAS device with the standard IDrive app, you’ll need to map your network drive. IDrive also has separate online apps designed for NAS backup, though, that some people might prefer. These apps are available for Synology, QNAP, Netgear and Asustor NAS devices.

Each NAS app lets you schedule automated backups or run them manually. However, they don’t provide continuous data protection, while the standard IDrive desktop app does.

IDrive supports block-level backup, but not multithreaded backup. Versioning also isn’t customizable, although the fact that IDrive keeps the last ten versions of any file should be enough for many people.

For those looking for a hybrid backup solution, the bigger issue will be that local backups aren’t run incrementally, which means a longer backup process and more system resources tied up. There’s also no continuous backup option for local backup.

Other Reasons Why We Like IDrive

You can sign up for a free 5GB plan to test IDrive. While that plan is good for life, it almost certainly won’t be enough to keep your NAS devices backed up.

The good news is that IDrive subscriptions are the cheapest on this list. The starting cost for personal backup sits at just over $50 for 2TB of backup space, and you get 2TB of cloud storage space, too.

IDrive, in fact, is one of the few cloud services to offer both cloud storage and online backup features, improving its value even more. We have an article on the difference between online backup and cloud storage if you want to learn more about that subject.

All IDrive plans support unlimited devices. That includes computers, local storage devices and mobile phones. IDrive also has business plans, but the costs, detailed in our IDrive for Business review, are higher.

Carbonite Safe Backup Pro

First off, the personal Carbonite backup solution detailed in our home Carbonite review can’t be used to backup NAS. That’s not surprising since, like Backblaze, it gives subscribers unlimited backup and it would be too easy for people to abuse that fact by backing up multiple NAS devices.

However, the Carbonite business solution, Carbonite Safe Backup Pro, isn’t unlimited and can be used for NAS backup. To backup a NAS device, as with other solutions it will need to be mapped as a network drive the computer you’ll be running your backup process from.

That’s all well and good, but unfortunately the Carbonite desktop client can only be used to backup files on your NAS rather than backup files to it. That means Carbonite Safe Backup Pro itself isn’t going to help you out if you’re looking to build a hybrid backup solution.  

In terms of speed, you’ll get fast, block-level backups with Carbonite Safe Backup Pro, but not multithreaded backup. Our tests have found that its not nearly as fast as using CloudBerry with a good IaaS like Amazon S3, or using either Acronis product.

Unlike IDrive, Carbonite doesn’t have a free courier backup service to makeup for its speed deficiencies, either.

Other Reasons We like Carbonite Safe Backup Pro

Carbonite Safe Backup Pro lets you backup unlimited computers on a single subscription, which is convenient. However, unlike the home version, there’s not much cost value there, since an annual subscription for just 250GB costs nearly $300, and each additional 100GB of backup tacks on another $100.

If you’re okay with that cost, you might as well go with Acronis Backup 12.5, a faster and more feature-rich business solution. However, Carbonite is still a better deal than MozyPro, which would set your business backup around $850 per year for 250GB of backup (read our MozyPro review).

Honorable Mention: Backblaze 

While its home and business solutions can’t be used for NAS backup, Backblaze has partnered with Synology to let you backup your Diskstation device directly to Backblaze B2, the company’s affordable IaaS solution.

Backblaze B2 Cloud

Backblaze B2 Cloud

Whether you’re using your Synology Diskstation to host media files, app files or backup data, the integration makes this perhaps the most convenient NAS backup solution all. If you’re in the market for a NAS device, Synology Diskstation models are some of the best, too.

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, there really aren’t that many outstanding solutions for NAS backup. For home or office, CloudBerry Backup ranks as our favorite because it makes hybrid backup easy and has tons of flexibility. That flexibility comes from both customizable features like block-level backups and multithreading, as well as the ability to pick your preferred IaaS solution.

Acronis Backup 12.5 for business users and Acronis True Image for home users are both fast, user friendly, feature-packed alternatives for those looking for something different. IDrive and Carbonite Safe Backup Pro round out our list, although neither is particularly fast.  

What are your favorite online backup solutions for NAS devices? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading.

The post Best Online Backup for NAS (Network Attached Storage) 2018 appeared first on Cloudwards.

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